“Oh, math! What a nuisance of a subject!” or “Math is so not my subject”-You’ve heard it before and you will probably hear it again, be it in high school or even in college. The age-old complaint has been commonplace since time immemorial. But what are the odds that you’ll hear the same from a pre-schooler? None. So why do some consider math an ideal comparison to ‘hell’?
Quite contrary to the widely-accepted claim of math being alien to one’s mind, mathematics is, as a matter-of-fact, found to be an inherent human ability. Furthermore, it, in reality, stems from a complex arrangement of neurons within the cerebrum of the brain.
When young, our brain is primed to learn and undergo extensive rewiring in the nerve cells, in order to facilitate absorption and assimilation of knowledge and skill, which we have very high affinity for in early years. During this phase, the blood flow to the brain tissue is also more ideal than any other time in life, hence, making it easier to implant a memory, thought and learning.
As we age and mature, the neural connections, usually degenerative and temporary in nature, break down if not reinforced often, that is, if electrical impulses do not flow through them frequently. The same mechanism applies to the complex cerebral apparatus of mathematics that is formed when young. This “mathematics” portion of the brain is ripe in the spring of youth and must be supplemented with a regular flow of neural impulses to keep it ‘alive and kicking’.
In other words, one needs to reinforce his or her mathematical ability through a daily schedule of regular practice. As a matter-of-fact, Math is more than just any neural arrangement.
Unlike the other arrangements in the brain such as those of history or biology which are strengthened by reinforcement and repetition, math requires unusually high levels of oxygenated blood flow, alertness and a somewhat “on-the-spot thinking” neural arrangement and mechanism. It’s so special and enamoring, there is a word for it- celebrating. So it’s always best to keep yourself energized and hydrated when carrying out such heavy brain activity.
After reading this far, you will realize that the answer to the big question encompasses a multitude of reasons-more maths practice, special enthusiasm for math (which improves blood flow in the pleasure centers of the brain) or even a very fresh and alert mind while doing maths. The opposite can be said for those who find maths “hell”. This single strategy to transform a struggling student to a math geek proves a powerful human ability—everyone is a genius, all that’s requires is unlocking and tapping that gray matter from within.
Manav Jha is a student of standard 12, Delhi Private School-UAE. Founder President of WE CARE- Non-Profit Organisation and Middle East Ambassador for Tunza Eco-Generation.
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